Monday, August 31, 2009

Disabled Canadian TV news producer killed in hit-and-run accident

From The Star in Toronto:

Nothing got in Dianne Trottier's way.

Not an opposing hockey team. And certainly not a broken elevator at her local Sobeys.

So when friends and colleagues heard the 33-year-old CBC producer (pictured) died after a hit-and-run driver in Fredericton struck her motorized wheelchair over the weekend, they were shaken and upset.

"Everyone is shocked and angry because of the way it happened," Esther Dzura said August 31. "It was senseless, really."

Trottier's colleague and CBC Radio producer Ing Wong-Ward agreed. "In terms of shock, the shock factor is huge. And what disturbs me and my husband is the person who did this ... knows what they did and they need to come forward ... for the sake of her friends, for her mother, because this is no way to die," she said.

Trottier, who lived in downtown Toronto, was in a crosswalk on Regent St. at the intersection with Beaverbrook St. when she was hit by a car late Saturday. She was initially taken to the Chalmers Hospital in Fredericton and later to the Saint John Regional Hospital, where she died Sunday evening.

Witnesses told police they saw a four-door, dark-grey car drive away from the scene.
Trottier, a Ryerson University journalism graduate, had worked at CTV before being hired at the CBC in 2003, first as writer and eventually a producer for CBC News: Around the World.

The "feisty" and "outgoing" journalist was vocal about accessibility rights and passionate about hockey. She played forward for the Pirates in the Toronto Power Wheel Chair Hockey League, where she was the second highest scorer this season.

"A lot of players looked up to Dianne," said Dzura, who is the league's president and Trottier's friend. "She would set them up to help (them) score the goals ... She just had a fantastic personality. She was just a funny person."

She was also a strong personality, said Wong-Ward, who attended Sunnyview Public School, a school for students with special physical or health needs, with Trottier.

One time, Wong-Ward recalled, the lift at the Sobeys in their St. Lawrence neighbourhood was broken. Trottier told her: "Don't worry. I've already called their head office. They're going to build a ramp next week."

Sure enough, Wong-Ward said, there was the ramp the following week. "That was Dianne: she was on it immediately. It was not acceptable to her. She had every right to shop in peace."